Thursday, March 24, 2011



Untitled from Brenda Yost on Vimeo.

Dad in his attractive helmet.

Dangeling over the cloud forest.

Mom heading back.

Dad is on his way.

Harnessed up and ready to go. We took our name tags off so they wouldn´t get lost in the forest.

Saturday March 19, 2011
We have had a busy week but the Senior Missionaries had planned a trip to Mindo on Saturday and we did not want to miss it. Mindo is in the cloud forest on the northwest side of Pinchincha volcano. A cloud forest is like a rain forest but at a higher elevation. It is famous for mariposas (butterflies), quindes (humming birds), cascadas (water falls), zip lines and the telebita, a metal cage that goes on a cable over a large gorge. We hired a van for the 8 of us and left about 8 a.m. arriving at about 10:30 a.m. After a brief stop in town to decide what we were going to do we headed up the canyon for the zip lines. All but two of our group did the zip lines. Four of us did the over and back basic package. Elder and Sister Geldmacher did the thirteen line full package. I did not get any video of Dad or me but I am posting a video of Elder Geldmacher so you can see what it was like.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guayaquil Meetings Thursday March 17, 2011

Mr. Lautaro Aspiazu Wright, Sister Yost, Elder Yost.

Elder Yost, Elder Maldanado, Luis H. Rendón, Fernando Aguirre

Andrea Balda director of Foundation JUCONI.

This was St. Patrick’s Day, but we totally forgot about it. We had an appointment at 9 a.m. with the JUCONI Foundation. They help to get children off the street and back in school. They work with the families of these children to teach them the importance of education, how to break the cycle of abuse and to generally strengthen the families. There are children as young as 4 on the streets selling goods to help support their family. We met with Andrea Balda, a graduate from John Hopkins University; she is passionate about this organization and was delightful to visit with. This project is in and going, we are donating school kits and hygiene kits.
At 10 a.m. we had a meeting with a councilman from the Prefectura of Santa Elena; they also want to do a wheelchair project. He is a member of the church and the meeting went very well. This area looks very beautiful and I hope we can visit there.
At 11 a.m. we had a meeting with the gentleman Mr. Wright who is the head of a very large charitable organization here in Ecuador. They are doing a wheelchair project with us and we needed some documents completed. He was very cordial and fun to visit with.
All of these meetings went very well and we hope to be able to do these projects. We visited Iguana Park again; I got some more video if anyone would like to see more Iguana´s just let me know. We checked out of the hotel had lunch and headed for the airport for the return to Quito.

Red Cross of Milagro & Prefectura de Guyas & Guayaquil

Elder Yost and Fernando giving the wheelchair presentation.

Elder Maldanado with the representatives from Guayaquil.

Meeting with the Prefectura de Guyas and Guayaquil.

Meeting with the Red Cross officials, the Stake President from Milagro, President Ivan Chiriguaya joined us here, (he is in white next to Elder Yost).

Following the delivery of the vision equipment we went into town and met with the officials of the equivalent to the Red Cross. They have a lab and blood bank which they were so proud to show us. They are building a center for abused children and teens. This will be a safe place for them to come to have counseling and associate together. We are hoping they will send a letter of request so we can do a project there.
That afternoon we met with a group from the Prefectura of Guyas and from Guayaquil who would like to do wheelchair projects in their cities. Fred and Fernando had prepared a power point presentation and gave them the requirements needed for this project. We will see what happens.
We had planned to go to the Temple this evening but the meeting went so long we decided to go to our hotel check in, have dinner and retire for the night. We had appointments starting at 9 in the morning.

Vision Equipment for Milagro

The clinic was founded by Medical Ministries International

The community just outside the clinic compound.

Our group in front of the clinic.

There were news teams covering the project.

Dr. Rios demonstrating some of the new equipment.

The waiting room.

Coming into Milagro, the area is famous for growing piñas (pineapples)

Wednesday March 16, 2011
We delivered the supplies for Project Smiles on Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 5:30 a.m. we were heading for the airport to fly to Guayaquil. Johnny Morante, the employment specialist in Guayaquil, met us at the airport. We had a quick breakfast at an outdoor cafe, it is very warm there and it felt so good to be warm, then we were off to Milagro about 40K away. We had a project there for a vision clinic that we have been working on since before we left the MTC. I was so impressed with the clinic and Dr. Rios. This is an extremely poor area and it was heartbreaking. The clinic does eye exams and eye surgeries. The waiting room was full of patients; Dr. Rios says it is this way every day. They gave us a tour of the clinic and the new equipment, which they are very happy to have. They can now take some of their old equipment for use in two satellite offices they are setting up.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Project Smiles - Operation Sonrisa

Operation Smiles wing of the Hospital

Waiting their turn for surgery

Operation Sonrisa Logo

Delivering the supplies.

Tuesday March 15, 2011
We had the opportunity to donate some suture supplies and anasthesia for the Project Smiles here in Quito. They came on March 16th to start the screening process and asked if we could get volunteers to help. We were able to send missionaries up to the hospital on Wednesday and Thursday to help with the children and families. They asked if more volunteers could help on Friday and Saturday as the surgeries were done. It was a wonderful opportunity for the community to see the missionaries and for the missionaries to help. Eighty surgeries were planned but ninety-one were actually completed. The hardest part is on the first day over 200 showed up hoping to get surgery. They are planning on doing more surgeries in other cities in Ecuador and we think one more here in Quito this year. If you are not familiar with Project Smiles they are teams of Doctors and Nurses that come to various countries and do surgery on clef lips and pallets, they also do surgery on hands and some scare repair and release.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This and That, a few things about Ecuador

The Virgin of Quito

The flag of Ecuador.

Here is a map so you can see some of the places we visit.

I thought you might be interested in a few things we are learning about Ecuador.

1. The Incas called Quito, the capitol of Ecuador, the naval of the world. They were not to far off. Quito is about 25 Km from the equator and is surrounded by mountains (which makes it look like a belly button). It was going to be the northern capitol of the Inca Empire but the Spanish came before it was completed. Royal Chambers were being built by the Inca called Quitos; this is where the city got its name.

2. Quichua (key-chu-wha) was the official Inca language and is still spoken by many in Ecuador.

3. The Inca had 3 moral codes or commandments: ama sua, ama llulla, and ama chella Do Not Steal, Do Not Lie, Do Not be Lazy.

4. Quito is the second highest National Capitol in the world. Can you figure out which capitol is higher?

5. Ecuador is the most mega-diverse country in the world. In relation to its surface, Ecuador holds the greatest amount of species of plants and animals on the planet.

6. Ecuador is the largest producer of bananas in the world. The second largest shrimp producer in the world, and the second largest producer of roses in Latin America.

7. Ecuador is the only site on the planet where the equator crosses over highlands. Did you know you weigh less on the equator?

8. The statue of the Virgin of Quito, El Panecillo Mirador, is the 3rd most visited statue in the world after the Statue of Liberty and the Corcovado in Brazil (I find this hard to believe after seeing the Buddha’s in Japan but that is what it said on the internet). It is made of over 7,000 pieces of aluminum and is the only statue in the world of the Virgin Mary to have wings. She is considered an apocalypse statue as she is standing on a dragon referring to the Book of Revelations.

9. The Inca believed that gold was the sweat of the Sun, and that silver was the tears of the moon.

10. The flag of Ecuador has three colors. Red represents the blood shed by soldiers and martyrs in battles for freedom. The blue represents the sky and the sea. The yellow, which is double the width of the other 2 colors, represents the abundance and fertility of the nation´s crops and land. It was adopted on September 26, 1860, making it one of the oldest flags in the world. It is very similar to the flags of Colombia and Venezuela; see if you can find out why. In the center of the flag is Ecuador´s coat-of-arms. The bird is the Andean Condor and this bird is also in the coat-of-arms of Bolivia, Chile and Columbia. See if you can find out what the other pictures in the coat-of-arms represent. For example the mountain is Chimborazo the highest volcano in Ecuador. When you are on the top of this mountain you are the closest to the sun you can get on earth.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Agave Plants aka Century Plants

Agave Plants.

Century Plants on the side of the road.

This is not a very good picture but you can kind of see the plants, at least the tall center stem.

Century plants all over the hillside, most are not in bloom in this picture, but you can see how many there are.

Century plant, this one is not in full bloom yet.

As we have driven to different places I have noticed an interesting plant. Last time we went to Otavalo there were so many of these plants in bloom it was fun to see. One of the other missionaries said they were called century plants and only bloom once every 100 years. This made me curious so I did some research. They are indeed called century plants but this a misnomer. They do have a once-in-a-lifetime-bloom but they usually bloom after 25 to 30 years, and the plant dies after blooming. The plant requires the right conditions to send up the stock and bloom. Usually moisture is required; we have had tons of rain so I guess the conditions were right, because we saw hundred´s in bloom. It was hard to get a good picture from the bus (the windows were very dirty); I will keep my camera ready next time we travel and hope we see more. The blooming stock grows 30-35 feet tall; it can grow 6-8 inches a day. The plant is often mistaken for aloe vera; in fact Columbus took several cuttings back with him thinking it was the plant Marco Polo had referred to for its healing powers. This plant is very toxic, several sites I read indicated that people had tried to trim it with chainsaws and their arms, or any exposed skin, was burned and blistered almost immediately. One site I looked at said that this plant is used to make digerie dos in Australia and in the Virgin Islands they are used for Christmas Trees. The leaves are very strong and can cut the skin to the bone; they were sometimes used as weapons. The inside of the leaves has a fiber and when the leave is cut just right it will make a needle and thread that natives used for sewing. One variety of Agave, called blue agave, is grown in Mexico and is used to make Tequila. You can Google century plant and see some interesting information, also search YouTube for some fun videos.

From Our Window

One evening as we looked out the window the sky was so beautiful, I snapped a couple of pictures to share.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Construction Sites

This is actually a fairly large operation, there were literaly 100´s of small cinder block operations. Most had a cement mixer but all the other work was by hand.

Cinder blocks stacked ready to transport.

Bamboo scaffolding, hope it is sturdy!

The work crew lifting cinder blocks to the upper floors, so much labor is manual, there is not much equipment available to help with these jobs.
Sometimes I will notice some interesting construction sites. These are a couple of them. I thought Thayne and Travis might get a kick out of these. As we have traveled I have noticed that all these cinder blocks being used to build are made in small operations. It seems in some areas every house has a cinder block project going on. I would have thought there would be some large factory to make the blocks but that does not seem to be the case. Some of the operations were totally done by hand, mixing the cement in a wheelbarrow, filling the forms and laying them out to dry. Others had a cement mixer but the rest of the work was by hand.

Iguana Park

I know I told you about the Iguana Park in Guayaquil, but I did not post the video so I thought I might get the video on the blog for the kids to see.

Untitled from Brenda Yost on Vimeo.

Women in the Park

Sylvia and I, she is an Otavalan girl who sold me some tableclothes, notice the blouse. The hand work is beautiful, many do their own embroidery work for their blouses.

The $ women in the park. She is making a piece for a blouse.

Things are a little slow right now with our work so I went through my pictures and thought I might do a few short posts on some of the various pictures I have taken around the area. This first one I am posting is of some native women in a park near our office. They were doing their handiwork and I asked if I could take a picture, their reply "one dollar". At this point what do you do, we gave them each a dollar and took the picture. They do some beautiful work here. The typical Otavalan dress for women is a beautiful white blouse with colorful embroidery work.